Roger McDowell is kind of a dick. You may have suspected this had you seen Gloria Allred's mildly erotic press conference last week. And you may have guessed it, too, when MLB suspended him yesterday for two weeks, without pay. But a few of you probably held reservations (because of Allred, because of McDowell's past as a merry prankster.)
No longer. He's definitely a dick.
This story from yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle will make you all sad inside, because a father whom Allred doesn't represent—whom no one represents—had a terrible day at the ballpark.
Here's the Chronicle's Gwen Knapp:
Achondo identifies himself as a small-business owner and describes bringing his sons, 5 and 7, from Sacramento for their first Giants game. While his wife and younger son played near the Coke-bottle slide, he and the older boy went to the outfield seats for batting practice.
Achondo wrote that he hoped to re-create his childhood trip to Candlestick "when I caught one along the right field line in BP and a player later tossed one up to me, so I had two balls on my first major-league game - so I truly know the memories my kids can have." Instead, he wrote, McDowell ruined the day.
If MLB believes Achondo's version of events, then it believes McDowell devalued its main currency - the moments when one generation transfers a connection with the game to another.
After McDowell left, Achondo said, his 7-year-old seemed unusually withdrawn and eventually started to cry. "I didn't know why, and he just said: 'I'm hungry,' " Achondo said. "My kid doesn't cry when he's hungry."
There's plenty to read all over about what it is McDowell did—threatening to shove a bat up the fans' asses, threatening to knock the fans' teeth out, the homophobic gestures and slurs—but Knapp's point here is probably the more important one. Baseball is supposed to be fun, if a little boring, for the kids. Fathers pass it on to their sons, and the boys learn about double switches and fielder's choices and the relentlessly edgy wheel play, and all of that.
So it sucks that a kid would bawl at his first baseball game because of something a coach, of all people, did. Can two weeks at home, with sensitivity training, really fix a fundamental misunderstanding of what the national pastime's all about?
Fan says McDowell's behavior ruined day with kids [SF Chronicle]